Drugs in the Sport and Entertainment Industry: Beyond Hyperbole and the Need for a Humanistic Approach for Drug Management

Jules Woolf

In December 2014, the German broadcast station ARD aired a documentary that alleged doping among Russian athletes was widespread and systematically organized. This subsequently led to an investigation and condemnation by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the decision by the International Association of Athletics Federations to ban all Russian track and field athletes from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The International Paralympic Committee went further and banned all Russian athletes from the Rio Paralympics Games. This was undoubtedly one of the big-gest drug-related sport scandals ever witnessed, the fallout to which has yet to be entirely resolved. However, smaller stories also routinely emerge that remind us of the use and abuse of drugs in sport. For example, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter and current World Wresting Entertainment (WWE) wrestler Brock Lesner tested positive for the banned substance clomiphene at the beginning of the year. In the National Basketball Association (NBA), Joakim Noah of the New York Knicks tested positive in March 2017 for a banned substance contained in an over-the-counter supplement—a scenario of apparent unintentional use. Moreover, in Major League Baseball (MLB), a handful of drug-related suspensions occur each year, some of which involve high-profile athletes (e.g., Alex Rodriguez).